Sunday, 12 April 2015

Our First Family Home

I was recently inspired take part in a lifestyle series hosted by Compass where they feature bloggers stories on their first home or starter home, be it a rented property or your own property. I love these kind of posts, both writing and reading them.

We've been living in our current house for 2 years now and it's the house that our family began in. We moved in in April 2013, two months before our son, Luke was born. It took a while for me, personally to settle in there but honestly it didn't really feel like a home until the day we brought Luke home, then it truly was our "home".

We live in a 3 bedroomed terraced house with a decent sized living room and kitchen. It was actually the living room size that pushed me towards this house when we were looking. There are 3 bathrooms, 2 too many if you ask me though, that's a lot of bathroom cleaning! There's a main bathroom, en-suite and downstairs toilet, I'd much prefer if that was a storage cupboard or pantry though. Most rentals properties in Ireland are furnished so we didn't have to worry about furniture, the couch was the final aspect of our decision on this house. My main issue with this house is the garden, the front is onto a road so not a suitable area for Luke to play but the back isn't in great condition either. There was a bit of a drainage issue but we are currently in the process of making it that bit nicer while not spending too much.
There is a big green area right across form our house which looks out onto Cork harbour, it makes for some stunning sunsets in the Summer.

When renting you are always restricted in relation of what you can do to the property but there are plenty of accessories that you can buy and temporary adjustments you can make to give the property a personal touch without leaving permanent marks.

My main project when we moved in was making a nice space for Luke and having a comfortable and cosy bedroom for him. We initially put him into the bigger room but ended up moving him to the smaller room as it was more suited to his cot and furniture and it's a lovely pale terracotta colour which gives the room a warm feel. His room is my favourite, I often sit down in there to catch 5 minutes, it's probably the most organised too, no mean feat with a toddler in residence there!

I found his name in letters online made by a woman near by, I love these little touches and it's something we can take with us when we move. 

As I mentioned the living room is quite big and mostly taken over by toys now but I do love our L shaped couch, you need a good couch and cushions! Our TV is wall mounted to it's away from roaming hands and the walls are adorned with family photographs. The shelves are filled with books and candles.

I'm the process of changing a few things in this room, getting some new curtains and painting the walls an off white colour, all in order to match a recently purchased mat and to make it that bit more neutral. 

Our bedroom was a bit up in the air after the arrival of a baby but recently we sorted it out and made it into a much more relaxed and personal space. I may have made it too girly for the man in my life so he purchased a Marvel canvas print which hangs behind the TV, that seems to be his corner of the room along with the playstation, not to worry though I've added a candle to that area too!

The prints above the bed were pictures printed from Instagram and I purchased the thread and heart shaped pegs on EBay. It's all of these little touches that make it our home and are all things we can take with us no matter where we go.

Wednesday, 8 April 2015

Community Spirit Is Alive And Well

Followers of my blog would know that back in March our beloved family dog, Murphy was knocked down by a car outside our house and he ran off.
I'll just give you a quick run down of what happened: It was St Patricks Day eve and I was about to go to bed but let the dopey dog out for a pee before locking up, I turned my back and he took off over to the green area next to our house. He came back but was running at such speed he obviously didn't have time to register the car coming towards him and him being almost completely black I'm guessing the driver didn't see him either. I ran out to the drive but sadly the driver took off and so did the dog. I rang the OH to come home as he was in his friends house so that he could go looking for him. My worst fear was that he'd ran off to die somewhere as I was unable to see if he was injured before he took off.
So the OH called this friend to help him and I said I would post on our local community page just in case anyone came across him or he was in someone's garden. The response I received was over whelming!
The local animal rescue group were tagged immediately and offered their help to go out looking for Murphy despite it being almost midnight and before I knew it there was a car load of people outside our house along with the OH and his friend and a few other local residents of our estate who'd seen the post and gone out looking too. I was helpless being at home as someone had to stay there while Luke was in bed but it gave me a great sense of comfort to know that so many people had gone out of their way to be out there searching with us.
About 2.30am and everyone decided to call it a night as we all agreed that Murphy was probably in hiding due to shock and not ready to be found and that we would begin searching again the next morning, When I woke up the very lovely Katie from ARC (Animal Rescue Cobh) who had organised the search the previous night had made up "missing" posters and had circulated them online to raise awareness for Murphy.

We went out searching again the next morning and many more people were messaging me to say they had seen him and were out looking for him and would try and catch him if they came across him again. The phone didn't stop ringing either.
The pup was eventually found not too far from home by 2 friends of ours who managed to catch him and hold on to him until the OH got there. Thank fully we wasn't hurt, the vet checked him over, a small cut on his leg and bit stiff in his shoulder but other than that fine.

It just made me so happy and revived my sense of community spirit to see so many people genuinely concerned for Murphy and going to such efforts to help us. Most of these people didn't know us but that didn't matter.
Growing up I lived in the countryside and was always part of a close knit group of people, everybody knew everybody. I moved into "town" a couple of years ago to start my own family home and it's a quiet estate where we kind of keep ourselves to ourselves, we would say hi to the neighbours but that's it really. I missed the familiarity of the countryside where I grew up and the knowing all my neighbours type of thing and it's something that I felt was really important to have for Luke as well.
However after this incident I very much feel like part of a community, a supportive one at that. We went to the local parade once we had Murphy sorted after finding him on St Patricks Day and for the first time n a long time I felt genuinely proud of my home town.
It also made me realise just how valuable these kind of organisations are, like ARC. I guess sometimes you don't realise that until you need them yourself. Also never ever underestimate the power of social media, it's amazed me how fast word got around about Murphy, how his picture was shared in places outside of Cobh.

I would like to commend the members of ARC for all that they do, taking in stray, unwanted animals, animals in need of veterinary care or just some TLC. They do all of this off their own backs and rely on charitable donations to cover the vets bills for the animals. I believe they have people who can foster the animals while waiting to re-home them permanently but even at that these foster homes are stretched thin. Also a big thank you to everyone else who helped in some way.
I would ask that if there's a group like this in your locality, help them out every so often, give a donation, offer to spread the word of their work, share posts and pictures on your social media, no gesture is too small when it comes to something like this.
Say hi to that neighbour, support that local event because at the end of the day a community is made of the people who pull together at all times.

Wednesday, 1 April 2015

The Carry On In Ponty Pandy

I remember reading a post by the very funny Hurrah For Gin way back in 2013 about Postman Pat and her open letter to him and while I laughed out loud, I always wondered would I ever watch enough of a kids cartoon to feel the same way. Luke was only about 5 months at the time and I couldn't imagine a time when he would be so into anything that I, in turn would also be so "into" it, not by choice obviously. However it happened and my own fond childhood memories of watching Fireman Sam and listening to the theme tune on vinyl, English on one side and then you could flip it over for a Welsh version, very swanky, are now being slowly replaced with feelings similar to Groundhog day and annoyance and a growing hatred for that bloody Norman Price!
Luke is obsessed with Fireman Sam, I don't even mean in a cutesy, ah sure isn't it sweet, he'll definitely be a fireman when he grows up kind of way. I mean in a full on, he talks about him 24/7, I would say that when he's not thinking about food, he's thinking about Fireman Sam. He even woke up crying during the night recently, calling out for "Sem". (Maybe this kind of obsessive behaviour is something I need to keep an eye on?!)
He has a couple of dvds now as well as several episodes on the planner that have been viewed more times I can actually bring myself to think about. I swear to god I was singing the Ponty Pandy Sea Shanty in my sleep not so long ago. It's got to the point now where we actually rejoice when we come across an episode that we haven't seen, although this is fading fast as I think we are close to the point of having seen them all.
Needless to say while I'e been forced to watch Fireman Sam numerous times, I've made a few observations:

  • While Ponty Pandy is a small village, the local council must have bucket loads in their budget to cover the daily fire services used by the same local residents, sometimes 2 or 3 times a day. Now they have a state of the art station with all these fancy extras AND an ocean rescue centre AND they don't even think twice about whipping out the helicopter to rescue a sheep up a mountain. 
    Just off out in the chopper to get the cat / sheep /dog that's stuck up a tree / on the mountain / down a hole
  • Dilys Price really needs to find herself a husband of some kind! I'm not sure how many more embarrassing scenes of her throwing herself at poor Trevor Evans I can sit through. If Trevor isn't around Station Officer Steele gets it. 
    Dylis, always on the prowl that one
  • I am baffled as to how Elvis Cridlington ever made it past the entrance exam for fireman training school (or whatever the official term is), he's as dopey. If I saw him coming to rescue me, I'd probably be better trying to save myself than have him make a mess of it. 

  • The mountain rescue guy, Tom Thomas, just his name is enough!

  • How freakin' bold is Norman Price?! I'd have him strung up if he was mine or I would have moved out of Ponty Pandy a long time ago after the shame he would've brought on the rest of us. I suppose having randy Dilys as your mother though there wasn't much hope for him really.
    Yet again Norman is causing havoc, thank god for Sam
  • You'd feel a bit sorry for poor Charlie Jones, he's constantly living in the shadow of his hero brother Sam and even his wife Bronwyn likes to undermine him from time to time. The infamous Sea Shanty episode where she was swooning over Ben, the ocean rescue dude and neither of them would listen to Charlie when out on the boat and Ben thought he knew best and ah sure before you know it they are ship wrecked singing that stupid annoying, oh my god I hate it, bloody sea shanty until they are rescued!
Sam is actually my favourite character, he's not featured as much as you would expect and his story lines aren't half as ridiculous and to be fair he really is the hero next door saving the rest of the locals from their own stupidity most of the time. I imagine he goes home every evening and cracks open a bottle of whiskey in exasperation! 

Pure annoyed head on him. The facial expressions say it all!

Tuesday, 31 March 2015

Me & Mine March

What a busy month! We've had lots going on here this month and the one month I had my picture sorted a couple of weeks ago, I failed to make sure the actual post was ready to go first thing, ah well I do try!
March saw us celebrating Mother's Day, my second one as a Mama to my gorgeous boy, I received some lovely flowers and a beautiful garden that even Luke signed himself.
This month was also time to celebrate St Patricks Day which thankfully for once the weather was on our side and this is when we captured our family portrait for March.
The night before St Partricks Day our dog, Murphy was struck by a car and was in such shock that he ran away, the driver didn't stop to help either. After a very stressful night spent looking for him he was found the next morning thanks to the help from our local animal rescue group and some friends who went out searching for him. Luckily he was ok.
I cooked my second roast dinner in my house for myself and 8 others in the family on Sunday just gone, it was nice to have everyone here and cook for them but I think I'll leave the regular roast dinners to my Mum and sister and I'll do one once a year, there's a lot to them!
The OH and I had a week off from work together so we really got in some quality family time, as always it went too fast though.
I really feel like March was a positive month for our little family (knocked down dog aside of course). We are gearing up for a busy April which sees us heading off to the very first Irish Parenting Blog Awards in Dublin so looking forward to updating you all on them next month.

Here we are in March:

This month Luke loves:
  • Sleeping a couple of hours longer in the morning
  • Fixing things in the shed with Grandad
  • Building blocks
This month Dad loves:
  • Having a cinema date with his first born
  • Helping Luke with his building
  • Curly Wurly's
This month Mum loves:
  • Luke sleeping in longer in the mornings, 6am wake calls are less frequent
  • Starting a photography course
  • Starbars

Monday, 30 March 2015

Claudi & Fin Frozen Yoghurt Lollies

We received a wonderful and generous package the other day on the shape of some delicious frozen yoghurt lollies for the lovely people over at Claudi & Fin. They were an instant hit in both the office with the adults as well as at home with the kiddies. I'm hooked on the delicious and refreshing mango flavour.
Luke has a huge appetite for all kinds of food but of course he loves his treats too and I'm always on the look out for the healthier option. So I was delighted to see that these lollies were 100% natural ingredients and filled with real fruit. The greek yoghurt aspect is a winner in my eyes too, they are so creamy!

Claudi & Fin lollies come in two yummy flavours – Mango and Strawberry in boxes of 4. They can be found in your local Super Valu and Centra stores for €3.50 each.

These lollies contain a range of healthy and wholesome ingredients including:

 Real fruit

 Whole milk

 Greek style yoghurt containing calcium, potassium and zinc

 30% of your child's recommend daily intake of Vitamin D

 Zero nasties!

This is Luke's version of a thumbs up, he loves the strawberry flavour! He was looking for more after this one.

Perfect sweet treat after the Sunday roast

It passed the 12 year old's taste test too

*We were sent the Claudi & Fin Frozen Yoghurt Lollies for the purpose of this review. All thoughts and opinions are my own*